Past and present Santa Paula Police K-9 Officers recognized last month at the inaugural National Police Dog Foundation Hero Awards were (from left) Sgt. Scott Varner’s (his K-9 Chevy is now retired), Senior Officer Randy Haumann (K-9 Hozy), Senior Officer Larry Johnson (K-9 Zak) and Sgt. Jimmy Fogata (whose K-9 partner Evan passed away last year). Also honored was Detective John Coffelt’s retired K-9 Jack and the late K-9 Rex, whose partner Ryan Smith now serves another law enforcement agency.

National Police Dog Foundation celebrates K-9s and their partners

February 12, 2014
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly 

Santa Paula Times 

Santa Paula Police K-9s and their two-legged partners were among those honored at the inaugural K-9 Hero Award luncheon presented last month by the National Police Dog Foundation (NPDF).

The January event, the inaugural celebration of crime fighters and their K-9 partners, was held at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach and drew law enforcement from throughout Ventura County.

Also garnering honors were the late Evan, longtime partner to SPPD Sgt. Jimmy Fogata, and Rex, whose SPPD partner was Sgt. Ryan Smith, now with another law enforcement agency.

SPPD Detective John Coffelt’s retired K-9 Jack was also recognized as was Sgt. Scott Varner’s now retired K-9 Chevy, Senior Officer Randy Haumann and Hozy and Senior Officer Larry Johnson’s K-9 Zak. 

Honored for exhibiting extreme strength and courage that saved his partner’s life, Dano, a German Sheppard, received the Hero of the Year award for saving the life of his partner Ventura County Deputy Danni Delpit during a confrontation with a suspect.

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told the audience that a man charged the deputy, punching her and knocking her to the ground while going for her gun.

The man was screaming he was going to kill the deputy, but Dano held onto his arm so he was unable to draw the deputy’s weapon. Due to Dano’s restraint of the suspect Delpit was able to draw her gun and fire on the suspect, ending the assault.

The National Police Dog Foundation is a Camarillo-based nonprofit that raises funds and promotes awareness for the purchase, training and ongoing veterinary care for active and retired police K-9s.

According to the group’s website, in 1998 the foundation began as a local group helping to fund the Ventura Police Department’s K-9 program.

Then Lt. Dave Inglis - who works with the SPPD on their K-9 program -and veterinarian Dr. Ron Dalzell, along with a few volunteers, realized the need for a civilian organization to help fund K-9 units. 

In addition, many other cities in Ventura County lacked budgets to fund their K-9 programs in their entirety, so the foundation expanded and became the Police Dog Foundation. Not only did police departments lack the initial funds to purchase and train a dog, many did not have a budget for serious medical issues. This continues to be the same circumstance today throughout the country, so the organization became the National Police Dog Foundation offering support nationwide in 2004.

The foundation currently assists law enforcement agencies through funding to achieve their goals of providing a K-9 unit with quality police dogs and training. In addition, the NPDF has also incorporated a network of veterinarians to help assist agencies with providing for maintenance care and possible emergencies as well as costly medical situations that might occur during their active service career. Equally important is to provide continued care for the police service dog after it retires. Our network of veterinarians includes some of the country’s most valued specialists in many varying areas of health care. 

Currently many dogs for police service work are imported from Europe but the United States now has the ability to produce dogs of equal quality. One of the many benefits of dogs bred in America is that they do not have to travel the many hours now necessary by plane to come to the US, saving them the stress of these long flights.

For more information about the National Police Dog Foundation, visit

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